How planning can help you write better blog posts
riting blog posts isn’t easy. Getting everything right takes time, practice & self-discipline. When you’re not used to writing loads of content, it’s normal to feel lost when you’re a.) trying to come up with a good topic, b.) struggling to generate leads, sales or hit other goals with your content & c.) writing (in general!).
So, what can you start doing right now that will not only make writing a little easier, but also enable you to write better blog posts?
START PLANNING & WRITE BETTER BLOG POSTS
Before you start thinking about lengthy planning documents & big meetings – stop. When I use the word plan here, I simply mean adding a few lines of text to the top of your Word document or notebook.
For the last 6 years, I’ve been using this trick to help team members, students & businesses write engaging blogs that work towards achieving marketing goals. I use it all of the time too. When you make a mini plan & add key points to the top of your rough draft, you create a self-checking system. This helps keep you – & your blog post – on track. What’s more, once you’ve done the planning, all you need to do is focus on filling in the details. By breaking your blog post down into more manageable tasks, it feels much less overwhelming.
Ready to get started? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you start writing.
1. What are you writing about?
When you answer this question, you find the starting point for your blog post plan. Your answer could be a sentence or two about the topic or a clear, SEO optimised headline that you’ll use for your post.
2. Who are you writing for?
It’s easy to get carried away writing & forget who you’re writing for.
Let’s say that you’ve identified 2 personas for your brand. One is Bill, a busy CEO with a young family, a hectic routine & no time for the gym. The other is Todd, an overweight bookworm who has a desk job & dislikes the gym. You want to target them with a few boosted posts on Facebook so getting your content right is crucial.
Now, if you’re creating & promoting content that focuses on ‘how to bench press 120kg’ or ‘which Instagram fitness gurus to follow’, you’re probably not going to engage your target audience. Bob will disregard your posts as he just doesn’t have the time for a gym routine or Instagram celebrities. Todd won’t even look twice as he doesn’t like the gym & prefers to follow authors on Instagram. If you can’t get – & keep – their attention, how will your content achieve its goals?
The key takeaway here is that, if you want to create engaging content that converts, you always need to keep your personas’ interests, motivations, beliefs & lifestyles in mind.
3. What is the purpose of your post?
At this point, you need to ask yourself how your blog post will contribute to the achievement of business & marketing goals. Are you, for example, driving sales for a specific product, generating leads for a specialist consulting service, building awareness of a problem that your company can solve?
Be aware that your purpose doesn’t just have to be about sales or leads. It can also include driving more traffic to site or building brand awareness.
4. What should your reader do next?
What your reader should do next is directly related to your purpose. This part of your plan determines which call to action you’ll add to the bottom of your blog post. Here’s a simple example: if your post is about the dangers of untreated gum disease & your purpose is to encourage people to see the hygienist, your call to action might send readers to your online booking form.
5. What are your key points?
Once you’ve answered questions 1 to 4, you can start listing your key points. These points will help you create a foundation for the paragraphs within your post. Sometimes, this takes a little more thought & research so be prepared to spend some extra time on this question. The end result should be 2 – 3 key points or more if you’re planning on writing a long post. Each one should help you take readers on a seamless journey from your introductory paragraph to your call to action, while also reinforcing the purpose of your post.
…BUT WHAT ABOUT SEO?
You should always include SEO in your blog plan. Content is an incredibly effective way to help drive more relevant traffic to your website. While I won’t cover the SEO side of things in this post, I will suggest that, at the very least, you consider keywords, images & other on-page SEO tactics.
THE BENEFITS OF PLANNING
Planning helps you write better blog posts because it forces you to focus & map out your approach. The end result? Content that is well structured, coherent & working towards achieving a relevant goal. What’s more, by keeping your goal & audience in mind, you’re much more likely to create an engaging, action driving post. ♦
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